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Statuette - The Mourning Virgin

The Mourning Virgin

  • Object:

    Statuette

  • Place of origin:

    Ulm (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1510-1520 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved limewood, painted

  • Museum number:

    85-1908

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This limewood figure of a Virgin is made by an unknown artist in Swabia (Ulm) in ca. 1510-1520.

The figure is fully carved in the round, and would probably have formed part of a crucifixion group in the crowning superstructure of an altarpiece.
The stylistic features and the scheme of the drapery can indeed be associated with sculptures from the workshop of Niklaus Weckmann (active in Ulm about 1490 to about 1530)

Physical description

The Virgin stands frontally, her head slightly inclined to her left, with both arms crossed on her chest. She wears a high-belted gown under a cloak which is drawn across her body and forms a series of angular folds which continue at the back. Her head is covered with a veil of which one end was held in her lost left hand.
The figure is wormeaten. A circular hole on the underside of the base, and another on top of the head indicate where the block of wood was fixed during the carving process. Some cracks occur on the back of the head. The veil, face, cloak, and left hand have been abraded. The lost left hand originally held the veil gathered over the right arm. The tip of the shoe and the small finger of the right hand are missing. The blue colour on the the cloak and the red on the gown are later overpaint. Traces of gesso remain on the neck and face.

Place of Origin

Ulm (made)

Date

ca. 1510-1520 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Carved limewood, painted

Dimensions

Height: 47.5 cm

Object history note

Bought, £39 14s 5d.

Historical significance: The figure is fully carved in the round, and would probably have formed part of a crucifixion group in the crowning superstructure of an altarpiece; it was acquired as Swiss in 1910. Schädler suggested verbally in 1972 an origin in Swabia, and a date of about 1510 (Departmental records). The stylistic features and the scheme of the drapery can indeed be associated with sculptures from the workshop of Niklaus Weckmann (active in Ulm about 1490 to about 1530), for instance the Virgin from a Crucifixion group, of about 1510/20 in the church St Michael at Ulm (Exh. Stuttgart 1992, p. 470, no. 79), and another Mourning Virgin in the Württembergisches in Landesmuseum Stuttgart (Exh. Stuttgart 1992, p. 119, ill. 149).

Historical context note

The figure intended to stand under a crucifix.

Descriptive line

Statuette, painted limewood, the Mourning Virgin, Schwabian (Ulm), ca. 1510-1520

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

List of Works of Art Acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum in the Years 1905 - 1908. In: List of Works of Art Acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum, During the Year 1908, Arranged According to the Dates of Acquisition with Appendix and Indices. London: Printed for His Majesty's Stationery Office, by Eyre and Spottiswoode, Limited, 1909, p. 17.
Jopek, Norbert. German Sculpture 1430-1540, A Catalogue of the Collection in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London, 2002, cat.no. 34

Production Note

The stylistic features and the scheme of the drapery can indeed be associated with sculptures from the workshop of Niklaus Weckmann (active in Ulm about 1490 to about 1530). Formerly thought to be Swiss.

Materials

Limewood

Techniques

Carving; Painting

Subjects depicted

Grief; Christianity; Veil

Categories

Sculpture; Christianity; Religion

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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